visit Nepal and Libya
Rajapaksa will pay an official visit to Nepal
shortly, and pray at holy Buddhist shrines in the
land where the Buddha was born.
The visit follows the Presidentís acceptance of an
invitation by Nepalís Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa
Kamal Dahal Prachanda, for a three-day visit to his
Details of the visit in the first week of March have
not been disclosed due to security reasons.
The Nation reliably learns that Chief of Protocol
Sudantha Ganegama has already gone to Kathmandu to
make the preparations for the Presidentís visit.
President Rajapaksa is also expected to visit Libya
on an official tour prior to his visit to Nepal.
With growing links with Libya since it recently
opened its job market to skilled Lankans, sources
said that there was a very good chance of Sri Lanka
opening an embassy in Tripoli.
According to reports the President will visit
Lumbini in southern Nepal, where the Buddha was born
over 2,500 years ago, and Swayambhunath, a world
heritage site in Kathmandu revered by Buddhists,
Jains and Hindus alike.
Rajapaksa is the first foreign dignitary to visit
Nepal under the Maoist government, besides UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last year, who too
Currently, Sri Lanka chairs the South Asian
Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) bloc of
which Nepal is a member.
With growing numbers of tourists from Sri Lanka
visiting Nepal, the governments of the two countries
last month revised the existing air services
agreement, with plans to start direct flights
between Kathmandu and Colombo.